Devotional journeys to holy places associated with enlightened Jain devotees, Jinas, became popular from the 14th century. Pilgrimage paintings map the sites in detail. Followers who mindfully view the images can gain merit equivalent to that of the journey itself. This painting represents the most important Jain pilgrimage site, Shatrunjaya, where Rishabhanatha, the first Jina, attained perfect knowledge. The mountain complex encompasses over 800 temples, countless smaller shrines and thousands of devotional images.
Shatrunjaya’s main temple, the Adishvara sanctuary, is dedicated to Rishabhanatha. Identified by its tower-like roof and golden Jina sculpture, it can be seen in the left enclave. The road winding through the rocky landscape is alive with activity as pilgrims purchase prayer beads, worship and make offerings.
Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2011
From: Asian gallery extended display label